The Cannabis Black Market
The Cannabis Black Market, Issues with Curaleaf, small canna businesses, Jerry Garcia, and Cananbis Licensing

Issues at Curaleaf

One of the largest Marijuana multistate operators, Curaleaf Holdings, said Thursday that it will cease the majority of its operations in three Western U.S. states – California, Colorado, and Oregon – and reduce its payroll by 10% in the latest sign of the ongoing difficulties for the cannabis market as a whole.

The payroll reduction – which amounts to a 4% cut in Curaleaf’s workforce – will save the Wakefield, Massachusetts-based company $60 million in 2023, according to a news release.

According to the release, Curaleaf’s latest moves were necessary for the “future success and profitability of the business and were made as a result of recent legislative decisions, price compression, and lack of enforcement of the illicit cannabis market.”

Southern Oregon has been a case in point as regulators and law enforcement there have attempted to curtail a thriving illicit market.

According to Curaleaf, the three state markets it’s exiting contributed less than $50 million to the company’s revenue in 2022.

CEO Matt Darin said the move is about operating in markets where there’s not a huge oversupply of products and an unrestrained illicit market.

“That creates an unlevel playing field for the companies that are operating in the regulated market and following the rules,” he added. “Those are tough markets as a regulated business and as a public company.”

Other Companies Moving out of California

Jerry Garcia’s legal Cannabis brand decided the same thing this week and pulled their brand out of California.

They cited the same reasoning, the impossible task of competing with the illicit cannabis market, for pulling their brand out.

How Should this Situation be Handled

The problem in most states is the impossible entry into the legal cannabis industry. Legacy growers and retailers are still struggling with the immensely slow, and tedious process of applying for and getting approved for Cannabis licensing.

States need to offer better support systems for these growers, specifically those negatively affected by the War on Drugs to get licenses and approvals.

In the end, large MSOs like Curaleaf are going to be okay, they operate in 22 states, and have huge market shares in states where Cannabis licenses are hard to get like New Jersey. The people that get hurt are the small canna-businesses in these states, and those are the people who will need the most support from the states.

Going Forward

If you are a small canna-business who needs help in marketing, licensing, or beyond, WJ Media Group is here to help. WJ Media group offers extensive cannabis marketing options. WJ Media group also offers consulting for your business in production, licensing, finding a retail location, SEO, Web Development, Social Media Management, and more. We are located in Central New Jersey but have clients all over the country. Feel free to reach out any time to learn more about how we can further your cannabis business.

Find a Digital Marketing Agency Near Me – The Ultimate Guide

Are you looking for a digital marketing agency near you? Whether you’re interested in content creation, search engine optimization, or website design services, we can help you find the perfect digital marketing solution for your business. In this guide, we’ll discuss how to evaluate digital marketing services and explore the available options in your local area.

Familiarize Yourself With Different Types of Digital Marketing Services.

Before you begin your search for the perfect digital marketing agency, it’s important to be aware of the different types of services offered by these companies. Digital marketing agencies typically offer a variety of services such as content creation, search engine optimization (SEO), website design, email marketing, inbound marketing and more. As you review potential providers, consider which services would provide the greatest benefit to your business.

Ask for References & Check Their Reputation.

Once you have narrowed down your choice of agencies and identified the best fit based on their services, pricing models and value proposition, it’s time to do some due diligence. Ask for references from recent clients and check their ratings on review sites such as Clutch, Trustpilot and Google My Business. Find out what other customers experienced while working with the agency, ask questions about their process, level of experience and overall customer service. This will help you make an informed decision when selecting a digital marketing agency near you.

Research Pricing Models & Understand What’s Included in Each Plan.

When hiring a digital marketing agency near you, it’s important to understand the different pricing models they use. This will help you understand what services are included in each model and if it will fit within your budget. Some popular pricing models include hourly rates, project-based rates and retainers. The type of projects also impact the cost, as some may require more strategic or creative thinking rather than just implementation of established tactics. Be sure to get clear details on what is included in each plan so that you know exactly what you’ll be getting for your money.

Look for Understanding, Experience & Results-Driven Strategies.

Another key point to look for when hiring a digital marketing agency is if they have experience and understanding of the strategies and tactics required to meet your business goals. You don’t want to hire a novice, who may end up costing you more in time and money than you initially budgeted for. Instead, look for an experienced partner that understands what it takes to create successful campaigns and will provide evidence

from previous projects where they’ve seen great results. Moreover, look for companies that focus on data-driven approaches so that you can track progress and make adjustments quickly as needed during campaigns.

Cannabis, Weed, or Marijuana? How to use Stigmatized Words in your SEO Strategy
SEO for the cannabis business, Pot, Weed, Marijuana or Cannabis?

The cannabis industry and Cannabis, in general, have always been associated chiefly with counterculture. Because of this, the language consumers use to search for and connect with cannabis brands remains firmly countercultural. This trend continues despite the cannabis industry’s attempts to adopt more professional terms, which leads to a confusing task for SEO professionals when tasked to market Cannabis.

The question we are faced with is, do we stay professional and use politically-correct terms like “cannabis?” Or do we use stigmatized but commonly-searched terms like “marijuana”, “pot” and “weed” to actually show up on high-traffic Search Engine Result Pages? How do we balance professionalism, brand voice, and consumer accessibility while navigating SEO requirements?

1. Organic traffic is all a Cannabis Brand Can do

It is nearly impossible to market Cannabis through paid advertisements. If your website contains Cannabis related terms, it is flagged and banned from advertising. If Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter discovers your account is related to Cannabis, you face the same problem. There are hardly any opportunities to pay for Cannabis advertising which leads professionals to capitalize on organic traffic. In stigmatized industries like cannabis, maximizing organic traffic is more straightforward and less risky than other methods.

To attract as much organic traffic as possible, you’ll want to do your research and tailor your keywords to match what consumers are searching for regularly. Feel free to include other keywords elsewhere in your website content, but the most impactful sections should focus on conversational, real-life search terms.

2. Know your Audience

Studies have shown that different age brackets refer to cannabis using disparate terms. Millennials are the generation that consumes the most Cannabis, and they tend to use words like “weed,” while Gen-Xers, the generation that consumes the second most cannabis, use words like “pot” and “marijuana.” The problem is, Gen X tends to have more buying power, and a focus on luxury products, yet they use words like “Cannabis” the least, which the lux brands almost exclusively use. Industry professionals usually try to avoid slang terms and default to “cannabis,” so the prevalence of stigmatized keywords like these puts SEO professionals in a difficult situation.

When most consumers search for cannabis products, they use words the cannabis industry tries to avoid. The most commonly-searched term for the cannabis plant in the U.S. is “weed,” followed by “marijuana.” The industry-preferred term, “cannabis,” trails behind in third place, and there are countless other words that different groups or consumers prefer to use. SEO professionals must execute a tricky equation: attract customers using stigmatized but effective keywords while remaining aligned with brand identity and professionalism in the cannabis industry. It’s essential to consider which groups you’re targeting and the language they use to refer to cannabis in conversational searches.

3. Don’t be afraid of using the “wrong” cannabis keyword

Usually, cannabis industry professionals try to stay away from words like “weed” and “marijuana” for a good reason. Terms like “marijuana” have been historically weaponized and slang words like “weed,” “pot,” and even “ganja” undercut the professionalism of the cannabis industry. No matter how we feel about these words as cannabis professionals, they are still valuable keywords in our SEO arsenals. In the linked article, Leafly talks about everything from the history of the word marijuana to balancing professionalism, to politics, to reclaiming the word. Through this, one of the most important things they say is that by using words like “marijuana”, “pot”, and “weed”, they are able to meet readers where they’re comfortable. They can connect with readers at their level, and bring information and education to everyone, regardless of the language they use.

Successful SEO is about meeting your target audience where they are. Most cannabis consumers use words like “weed” and “marijuana,” so effective SEO strategies also need to use these keywords. Don’t feel like you have to use these words exclusively, though. Consider using higher-value but less-professional keywords like “pot” and “marijuana” in titles and headers and defaulting to the industry standard “cannabis” in the body text of your optimized web pages.

If you’re still uncomfortable using these keywords, remember most other cannabis professionals share your feelings on the topic. Generally speaking, stigmatized cannabis keywords get more impressions. These stigmatized keywords are also usually slightly easier to rank for because most cannabis professionals are wary about incorporating them into strategy. Feel free to start slow, choose to make your next image alt tag something like “weed flower” instead of “cannabis flower”, and only implement these words where you feel appropriate going forward.

Engage consumers first, then provide education

Ultimately, connecting with consumers is critical to enabling, destigmatizing, and legitimizing work in the cannabis industry. You’ll likely have to use stigmatized keywords to catch the attention of those consumers. Once you’ve captured consumers, there will always be room for education and activism. To change the narrative, you have to be part of that narrative. To be a part of that narrative, you might have to take advantage of some of the cannabis SEO keywords the industry would rather leave behind.

If your canna business wants to get ahead of the competition and optimize its SEO strategies, WJ Media Group is here to help. To prepare your canna business for the future, or to improve your canna business and take advantage of this growing market while you have the chance, WJ Media group offers extensive cannabis marketing options. WJ Media group also offers consulting for your business in production, finding a retail location, SEO, Web Development, Social Media Management, and more. We are located in Central New Jersey but have clients all over the country. Feel free to reach out any time to learn more about how we can further your cannabis business.

Google Ads to Allow Marketing for CBD and Hemp Products
CBD and Hemp advertising ban lifted on Google

Google Ads just announced in their newest policy update that they are lifting some of the bans on CBD and Hemp advertising. Google Ads announced they will no longer ban all hemp and CBD advertising only in California, Colorado, and Puerto Rico. This update of course comes with some limitations.

The Requirements

The ban lift is set to take place on Jan 20th, 2023 for

  • FDA-approved pharmaceutical products containing CBD.
  • Topical, hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC.

In addition to these requirements, Companies marketing CBD topicals must also be certified by LegitScript, which involves submitting products for lab testing and providing a third-party Certificate of Analysis.

After that, you can fill out a form through Google, where they will certify your product.

Supplements, food additives, and inhaled products will still be banned under Google’s rules.

Also, not all ad formats are available to marketers, including YouTube Masthead.

CBD will no longer be included on Google’s list of Unapproved Pharmaceuticals and Supplements.

Google Ads’ change to the CBD and Hemp Advertising Ban is a huge step forward for cannabis marketing. We hope to see more updates from Google as cannabis legalization continues to take place in the States.

Take advantage now

If your cannabis business wants to take advantage of the constantly changing landscape of the cannabis industry, look no further than WJ Media Group.

If your canna business wants to get ahead of the competition, WJ Media Group is here to help. To prepare your canna-business for the future, or to improve your canna-business and take advantage of this growing market while you have the chance, WJ Media group offers extensive cannabis marketing options. WJ Media group also offers consulting for your business in production, finding a retail location, SEO, Web Development, Social Media Management, and more. We are located in Central New Jersey but have clients all over the country. Feel free to reach out any time to learn more about how we can further your cannabis business.

A Look Back at 2022 Cannabis Marketing Trends
Cannabis Marketing trends in 2022, and 2023

2022 Cannabis Marketing Trends

With 2022 officially over, let’s take a look at which trends were at the forefront of marketing Cannabis in 2022. It was a year full of new opportunities for canna-businesses with the widespread legalization happening in the US. We saw a lot of new emerging trends in order for canna-businesses to stand out from the ever-growing landscape of the cannabis industry. Here are some of the biggest trends we saw.

1. Emphasis on making something new.

In 2022 we saw brands trying to stand out by making products that no one else was making.

It’s no secret that edibles are one of the largest sectors of the industry and since its insurgence gummies have been leading that market. This year we saw a shift of brands moving away from gummies in order to stand out from the competition

This year we saw brands try products such as cooking and baking oils, savory snacks, beverages, mints, and hard candies, sublinguals (Listerine strips), and more. 

Brands saw a ton of success specifically in Cannabis Beverages

The market share of beverages has increased by nearly 40% in the U.S. and Canada since January 2021, according to a report released on Nov. 18 by cannabis data company Headset, titled “Cannabis Beverages: Examining category performance & trends.” 

2. A Focus on Microdosing

In 2022 a ton of brands emerged or created products specifically made for microdosing. In the past, it was all about high-THC products, but for a lot of consumers, high THC is not the answer for them.

Brands like 1906 edibles released edibles with 2.5mg of THC and 2.5mg of CBD, allowing consumers to have complete control over their microdose.

These microdose products allow consumers to gradually enter the cannabis space, and experiment with small doses before committing to strong products.

3. Companies utilizing occasion-based marketing.

This is one of the most prominent, and most effective trends that was used in 2022. If you surf any internet form about cannabis, you are met with countless questions about the best products for certain situations. Brands recognized consumers had these questions and started creating products for specific occasions.

We see products with descriptions such as “recover and restore”, “rest easier” or “fast times”. The products are specifically targeted toward a feeling or occasion that the consumer might want to achieve.

Consumers in general, when they’re coming into the cannabis industry, don’t know when, why, or how they should use cannabis. It is a brand’s job now to take them through that consumer path to purchase.

4. Educating consumers on terpenes.

In 2022 we began to move past the base of just labeling products as Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid. Now we are educating consumers on each product’s specific terpene, and how the terpenes interact with the body.

We now see brands including terpene profiles in each product on the product packaging, with a word to describe how it makes an individual feel.

We expect this to be a massive marketing trend in 2023. With so many products available out there, experienced consumers are going to want the perfect products for them. Terpene profiles are going to be an answer to this want.

5. What’s to come in 2023

In 2023, we expect all of these Cannabis Marketing trends to continue. Most of these trends just scratched the surface of what they could become. In 2023, brands have the opportunity to really take advantage of them.

If your canna business wants to get ahead of the competition, WJ Media Group is here to help. To prepare your canna-business for the future, or to improve your canna-business and take advantage of this growing market while you have the chance, WJ Media group offers extensive cannabis marketing options. WJ Media group also offers consulting for your business in production, finding a retail location, SEO, Web Development, Social Media Management, and more. We are located in Central New Jersey but have clients all over the country. Feel free to reach out any time to learn more about how we can further your cannabis business.

Using ChatGPT For Marketing your Business
Using ChatGPT For Marketing your Business wjmediagroup

The Blog post you are about to read is entirely written by ChatGPT, an open-source AI from openAI that has some incredible capabilities in terms of writing and answering questions. I asked ChatGPT to write me a blog post, which is one of the many ways ChatGPT can help you market your business. In this case, I asked how to use ChatGPT to market your business. This is what it came up with

ChatGPT’s answer

As a business owner, it’s important to stay on the cutting edge of technology in order to stay competitive and attract customers. One tool that has recently gained a lot of attention in the world of marketing is ChatGPT, a state-of-the-art natural language processing (NLP) system that can help you automate and improve your online marketing efforts.

ChatGPT is a variant of the popular GPT-3 language model, which has been trained on a massive amount of text data from a wide range of sources. This allows it to understand and respond to natural language inputs in a way that is highly similar to a human.

Using ChatGPT, you can create automated chatbots that can help you engage with customers on your website or social media platforms. These chatbots can provide quick and helpful responses to common questions, freeing up your time to focus on other aspects of your business.

Additionally, ChatGPT can help you generate high-quality content for your marketing campaigns. It can write compelling product descriptions, create engaging social media posts, and even help you brainstorm new ideas for your marketing strategy. This can save you a lot of time and effort, while also helping you produce content that is more effective at attracting and retaining customers.

One of the key benefits of ChatGPT is that it can learn and adapt over time. As it interacts with more customers and gains more data, it can continually improve its performance and provide even better responses. This means that you can trust it to handle a wide range of marketing tasks, from simple customer service inquiries to complex content creation.

Overall, ChatGPT is a powerful tool that can help you streamline and improve your marketing efforts. By using it to automate and enhance your online presence, you can save time and resources, while also reaching more customers and growing your business.

Testing its recommendations

Using ChatGPT to write a blog post in itself is a great way to quickly come up with content for our business, but It should not be 100% trusted.

Here I will check and test what ChatGPT recommended we use it for and see how effective it is.

Automated Chatbots

ChatGPT recommended we use it to create automated chatbots for our website. While this seems like an extremely powerful tool for your business, ChatGPT does not have the functionality yet.

That being said, it is probable that ChatGPT will eventually have that functionality, and when it does it should be added to your site.

This is a good example of why you should double-check everything ChatGPT writes for you before posting.

Generating Content

ChatGPT claims it can write marketing campaigns, product descriptions, and social media posts, so I will ask it to do each of those things

Marketing Campaign

Request “create a marketing campaign for an insurance company in NJ”

ChatGpt’s answer –

Here are a few potential ideas for a marketing campaign for an insurance company in New Jersey:

  1. “Protect what matters most” – This campaign could focus on the importance of having insurance coverage for your home, car, and other valuable assets. It could highlight the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re protected against potential risks and disasters.
  2. “Insurance made easy” – This campaign could focus on the simplicity and convenience of working with the insurance company. It could highlight the company’s user-friendly website and mobile app, as well as the friendly and knowledgeable customer service team.
  3. “Your neighbor, your insurer” – This campaign could focus on the company’s local roots and commitment to serving the New Jersey community. It could highlight the company’s history and involvement in local events and charities.
  4. “Trust us to protect your future” – This campaign could focus on the company’s financial stability and expertise in the insurance industry. It could highlight the company’s strong ratings from independent agencies and its commitment to providing high-quality coverage and service.

This is not a terrible way to get you thinking about a campaign although none of them seem strong enough to use on their own right now. That being said, you can then ask ChatGPT to further a campaign and get more material out of it. This is a great way to help you begin to think about a marketing campaign

Product Description

Request “write a product description for 25mg berry flavored CBD gummies”

ChatGPT’s Answer –

Introducing our 25mg berry flavored CBD gummies – the perfect way to enjoy the benefits of CBD in a tasty and convenient format. Each gummy is packed with 25mg of high-quality CBD, derived from organically grown hemp plants. The berry flavor is sweet and delicious, making these gummies a tasty treat that you’ll look forward to taking each day.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a natural compound found in hemp plants that has been shown to have a variety of potential health benefits. Our gummies are formulated to provide a convenient and easy way to incorporate CBD into your daily routine. Simply take one or two gummies as needed, and let the CBD work its magic.

In addition to being delicious and easy to take, our berry flavored CBD gummies are also vegan and gluten-free, making them a great option for people with dietary restrictions. Try them today and experience the potential benefits of CBD for yourself.

This is a great way to get some descriptive words and explanations for a product. Of course, ChatGPT does not know exactly what you are selling, especially if you do not give a large description of it, and so it tries to add information from learning from other similar product descriptions. ChatGPT came up with this product being vegan and gluten-free, which if it was not, and you blindly went with the description it wrote for you, could be a disaster for your business. Again we have an instance of ChatGPT being a great starting point, but needing some help.

Social Media Post

Request “create a social media post for a marketing company in new jersey”

ChatGPT’s Answer –

Here’s a potential social media post for a marketing company in New Jersey:

“Exciting news! Our team at [Marketing Company Name] is thrilled to announce that we are now offering comprehensive marketing services to businesses in New Jersey. From social media management to email marketing and beyond, we have the tools and expertise to help your business thrive. Contact us today to learn more and schedule a consultation. #marketing #NJbusiness #growth”

We see ChatGPT’s attempt to write a post or post descriptions and it is very broad. It is interesting to see it include hashtags, but having it come up with content on its own gives it too wide a task and in turn, it has it write a broad post.

To combat this I will ask it to write something more specific

Request “create a Facebook post for a marketing company in new jersey about their New Years Marketing packages being 20% off”

ChatGPT’s answer –

Here’s a potential Facebook post for a marketing company in New Jersey announcing their New Year’s marketing packages at a discounted rate:

“Happy New Year from [Marketing Company Name]! To kick off the new year, we are offering 20% off our comprehensive marketing packages for businesses in New Jersey. Whether you need help with social media management, email marketing, or anything in between, we have the tools and expertise to help your business grow. Don’t miss out on this limited-time offer – contact us today to learn more and schedule a consultation. #marketing #NJbusiness #NewYearsSale”

This post is much better. It hits the specific very well and would be something I would gladly post. If only it could also make a graphic for this post and then it would really be doing all the work for you.

Takeaway

ChatGPT is still in its early stages but it is constantly getting better. It would be wasted potential if you ignored it completely, but it is still not a stage to trust 100%. That being said, it is a great tool to generate starting points for different aspects of your business. The few mentioned here all have potential and there are countless other ways to use ChatGPT to market your business as well that were not mentioned.
Again, it still cannot be trusted 100%, so marketing for your business still is not going to be an easy task for you. Instead, you can contact the experts at WJ Media Group for marketing your business. We provide SEO, social media, web design, analytics, branding, and more. Feel free to reach out today and see if WJ Media Group has solutions for your business.